Press Release: Play Fair Coalition Demands Mayor Provide More Funding For Parks


Over 30 Citywide and Local Groups Send Letter to Mayor de Blasio Calling on Increased Maintenance Funding  


CONTACT: Megan Douglas 212-838-9410 ex.310 /  

May 20, 2019 (New York, NY) – Over 30 parks, environmental, labor and youth groups sent letters to the Mayor calling on him to increase maintenance funding for the New York City Parks Department. The letters came from Play Fair Coalition founding members New Yorkers for Parks, New York League of Conservation Voters and District Council 37, as well as City Parks Foundation, Girl Scouts of Greater New York, Natural Areas Conservancy, Nature Conservancy, The Trust for Public Land and others. The letters were in support of Play Fair, a multi-year campaign that in its first year is focusing on an increase of $100 million for the NYC Parks maintenance budget. The Play Fair Coalition now has over 120 members and the support of a supermajority of City Council members.

Included in this funding push, the coalition is calling for permanently baselining 100 City Park Worker positions and 50 Gardener positions. The City Council has had to allocate this funding on a year-to-year basis as part of the annual "budget dance."  

Parkland comprises 14% of all City land, but the Parks Department received only 0.59% of the City budget in FY19. The last time Parks received at least one percent of the City’s budget was in the 1970s. While the $100 million in funding that the Play Fair Coalition is pushing for is just 0.10% of the Mayor’s recently-released $92 billion proposed budget, the Coalition believes it would have a transformative effect on the City.  

Noting that the mayor’s ‘Green New Deal’ for New York includes no funding for green spaces, the letters emphasized the important role that parks play in sustaining a healthy environment and mitigating the devastating effects of climate change. The Girl Scouts of Greater New York shared that in recent years, the environment has become the top priority and concern for the over 30 thousand girls in their organization.  

Local organizations outlined how increased funding would improve their parks, citing the challenges of raising money to maintain parks in low-income communities where residents are already stretched thin; how volunteers must tap into their own limited resources while also depending on overburdened and understaffed Parks employees for support and advice; that their volunteers are not qualified to address many of the problems in need of better maintenance, such as splintering and breaking play equipment; and that with population continually on the rise, the challenges of caring for parks only increases year after year.  

The following groups sent letters to Mayor de Blasio:  

New Yorkers for Parks
New York League of Conservation Voters
District Council 37
City Parks Foundation
Girl Scouts of Greater New York
Natural Areas Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy
The Trust for Public Land
Waterfront Alliance
Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Astoria Park Alliance
Bronx Park East Community Association
Bronx River Alliance
Brooklyn Parks & Open Spaces Coalition
Carnegie Hill Neighbors
Downtown Alliance
Elmhurst Supporters of Parks
Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Conservancy
Fort Tryon Park Trust
Friends of Carroll Park
Friends of Dag Hammarskjold Plaza
Friends of Inwood Hill Park
Friends of MacDonald Park
Friends of Morningside Park
Friends of Pelham Parkway
Friends of Van Cortlandt Park
Gowanus Canal Conservancy
Loving the Bronx
Madison Square Park Conservancy
New York Junior Tennis & Learning
North Brooklyn Parks Alliance
Prospect Park Alliance
Randall’s Island Park Alliance
Red Hook Conservancy
Sara Roosevelt Park Community Coalition
Staten Island Economic Development Corporation
Survivor I Am
United Athletic Association
Yorkville Sports Association  


About New Yorkers for Parks:
For over 100 years New Yorkers for Parks has been the independent champion for quality parks and open space for all New Yorkers. Through our research, advocacy, and the Daffodil Project, we work with communities and elected officials to promote and preserve quality open space across the city. Learn more: or  

About The New York League of Conservation Voters:
The New York League of Conservation Voters is the only non-partisan, statewide environmental organization in New York that takes a pragmatic approach to fighting for clean water, healthy air, renewable energy, and open space. For more information, visit   

About DC 37:
District Council 37 is New York City's largest public employee union, represents 125,000 members and 50,000 retirees. DC 37 members help make New York City run by working in over 1,000 titles – everything from Accountants to Zookeepers, including thousands of NYC Parks workers such as City Park Workers, Gardeners, PEP officers, Urban Park Rangers, City Seasonal Aides, Associate Park Service Workers, Lifeguards, Lifeguard Supervisors, Climbers and Pruners, City Park Supervisors, and Motor Vehicle Operators. For more information, visit